30 - 2009

12 Days of Christmas: Daikon Pickle For Banh Mi

This year I’m celebrating the holidays with a “12 Days of Christmas” series on the abundances of our kitchen and garden. Share your experiences, too, and happy holidays!

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …
5 daikon pickled for banh mi,
4-some gallons of beer,
3 quarts of applesauce,
2 half-gallons of sauerkraut,
and 1 quart of yogurt, homemade.

Among my group of friends, Vietnamese food is the go-to craving. Some members of my knitting group meet weekly at a pho restaurant, although my personal poison is bun dac biet, or the combination, got-it-all rice noodle bowl. Down the strip mall from their pho joint is a Vietnamese sandwich shop where they serve banh mi, a sliced baguette layered with veggies and marinated, grilled or sauteed meats.

Mr. Cheap and Mlle. Cheap are big fans of pho and banh mi. So when our CSA boxes at the end of the season included several daikon (giant, spicy white radishes), I didn’t waffle for long before deciding to pickle them Vietnamese-style as a condiment. (Disclaimer: I’m not actually that crazy about non-sweet pickled stuff, especially when it bears the earthy aroma these pickles do, so I assigned the actual work to Mr. Cheap.)

We went with a recipe published earlier this year in The New York Times. It’s simple and quick; we left it to ferment in the refrigerator for a week or so. Last week, Mr. Cheap cooked up some pork using a recipe from an Asian cookbook we have, piled it onto sandwiches with the pickles, and down the hatch they went before I thought to get a photo. Just imagine a sandwich with a crunchy crust, piled with sweet pork, earthy-sour pickles, crisp cucumber and plenty of cilantro. Definitely worth a quick pickle.

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